Desiray and Shawn Watson of Cottondale have started a non-profit organization, 4 Him Ministries, to help the local homeless population and to assist others in need.
The couple is working in partnership with their church, Community Faith South, located on Main Street (U.S. 231) in Cottondale.
“The purpose is to meet and love the community and try to help meet the community’s needs,” Ms. Watson said.
She has been homeless herself and has struggled with addiction and the suffering that brings. She’s three years clean now, and said a women’s rehabilitation and half-way house in Jackson County provided her key support in that journey to freedom from methamphetamine.
She and her husband decided to settle here after her stay there was done, saying the community here is an environment that not only helped her re-establish life away from the social climate that was bad for her, she has found in it a nurturing spirit.
Giving back to it was a goal from the moment she stepped out of the rehab center, she said.
“After my personal experience in recovering from addiction I have had a heart to help people and in my walk with the Lord I’m able to do that,” she said. “It’s an important part of my life and it brings me strength and great joy.”
The 4 Him Ministries kick-off was a bit sooner than she’d expected and so all the particulars are still in flux as it is being formally established.
The early start resulted when she heard a need announced at church by her pastor, the Rev. John Vanell.
A Jackson County charitable organization that distributes food once a month at its headquarters also takes what’s left from each session and hand-delivers those supplies to elderly individuals or shut-ins and others in Cottondale who can’t get to the distribution point in Marianna. That group reached out to local churches for another volunteer to continue that work when its driver had to step down.
Watson felt it was hers to take on when the pastor mentioned it in the pulpit, and she did. She made her first deliveries last week, supplying eight of 10 households on the list, and will finish the last two when they can be contacted.
Other 4 Him projects she expects to bring on line include distribution of backpacks with supplies for the homeless.
Her husband is a trucker and often sees makeshift communities of the homeless clustered at points all along his route, including local counties.
Anyone wishing to donate supplies or funds to that cause can call her to make arrangements to drop those things off at her church. Any checks should be made out to the church, she added, as its treasury will be the custodian of all funds donated.